At the start of the year, veteran Congress politician Margaret Alva, 80, wrote a letter to PM Narendra Modi, expressing her angst over a move by the BJP government in Karnataka to bring in a law on religious conversions.

“We Christians are a disciplined, non-violent, service-oriented community. If we were involved in mass conversions, why is our number under three per cent? 200 years of rule by Christian colonial powers and work by so-called ‘missionaries involved in forced conversions’ should have shown in our numbers, which have been declining. Why this false propaganda and violence against us?” she wrote.

The letter to the PM and participation in protests against The Karnataka Protection of Right of Freedom of Religion Bill in the latter half of 2021 saw Alva, once a political force to be reckoned with in Karnataka, returning to the political stage in the state after a long hiatus. Now the Opposition’s ‘consensus’ candidate for the vice-president’s post, Alva finds herself in the spotlight once again.